Needell back to his roots
Tiff Needell is gearing up to return to where it all began for him by racing a Lotus 69 Formula Ford, the type in which he made his name in the early 1970s after winning the car in a competition.
The 61-year-old TV presenter, who briefly competed in Formula 1 with Ensign in 1980, plans to enter the Lotus in some rounds of the Historic Formula Ford Championship, which regularly features full grids of pre-72 cars.
The car is being prepared by Barwell Motorsport, the team managed by his younger brother Chris. “The car is back in my original 1971 colours and it brings a tear to my eye,” said Needell.
Jerez date for Masters
A finale in Jerez to replace the Donington Masters Festival is the key change for Masters Historic Racing this year.
Alongside GP Masters, the group will run championships for World Sportscar Masters, Pre-66 GT and Touring, as well as Can-Am Interserie and 70s Celebration. Races for Sports Racing Masters may be joined with WSM.
The Jerez Historic Festival is on October 11-13, other dates including Barcelona, Zandvoort, Narburgring and Spa, plus the Brands Hatch festival (May 25-27).
Flag falls on FIA F1 series
The future of the FIA Historic Formula One Championship remains in doubt following the decision of the former championship organisers to abandon their plans for at least the 2013 season.
Dan Collins of TGP Ltd, the organisation that has managed the championship since 1994, has confirmed its withdrawal, saying that the financial implication of running the championship with small grids is the reason for the decision to pull out. In 2012 many rounds featured fewer than 10 cars from the 3-litre Fl era of the 1970s and early ’80s.
“Both Grand Prix Masters and Historic Formula One have had poor grids at some events for the past two years,” said Collins.
“Crucially, Masters has been able to secure participation at certain Blue Riband events and that has precluded HFO.
“Without these events, the financial viability of the championship has been in question and in an attempt to combat that situation, we were able to secure a support race at the 2012 British GP. This event should have ensured sufficient income to enable us to continue into 2013, but even without the atrocious weather, the logistical challenges that we faced at Silverstone resulted in many withdrawn entries with the result that it did not make a profit.”
Meanwhile, Grand Prix Masters, the Masters Historic Racing organisation’s series for Formula 1 cars of the same era, continues to be at the centre of speculation that it will take over the FIA tag, although Masters boss Ron Maydon and his team will not be drawn into making comment. However, Masters has already unveiled a seven-race pan-European calendar for GPM cars in 2013.
Super Tourers to his roots
The Super Touring Cars of the 1990s, along with earlier cars from the Group 2 and Group A eras, will have a new four-event series organised by the HSCC this season. It will be for genuine cars with a period history.
The concept builds on the Touring Car Trophy races held at last year’s Silverstone Classic, when about 40 cars proved a big hit with fans. The idea has been extended with races at historic meetings including the Silverstone event, the Thruxton Easter Revival (March 30/31), the Brands Hatch Historic Super Prix (July 13/14) and Oulton Park Gold Cup (August 25/26).
Series prime mover Dave Jarman says that interest in the new series is running very high. “I reckon we could have 50 cars at the Silverstone Classic this year,” he said.
Honours for John Crosslé
John Crosslé, founder of Northern Ireland-based Crossle Cars, was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours’ list.
The internationally respected engineer established his racing car business in 1957 and although the firm is now owned by marque enthusiast Paul McMorran, Crossle is still closely involved with the company.
In 2010 Crossle received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Ulster for services to engineering and manufacturing.